Half human, half lion, all hero.
Seymour resident Mark Murry, 30, has published a book, “Leoman,” about a Christian superhero with autism.
Murry recently was recognized by Unity of Indiana for authoring the book and being a person with high-functioning autism himself.
Unity of Indiana is an Indiana-based agency whose mission is to assist individuals with special challenges by advocating, networking and resourcing services to promote quality of life. The organization’s intent is to empower individuals to pursue their life goals and dreams, according to unityofindiana.com.
Lori Tharp-Tabor is with Unity of Indiana and is Murry’s case manager.
“Quarterly, I have team meetings with everyone who’s a part of his team, and for him right now, his team consists of me, his case manager and Stevie Davis, his behavioral specialist,” Tabor said. “We serve all counties in the state of Indiana and featured Mark as a success story through our company.”
She said Mark is a remarkable man, and she believes there are a lot of people who would find his story very interesting.
Mark Murry and his wife, Dorothy, were high school sweethearts and met while attending Brownstown Central High School. They have been married for six years and have a three-year-old daughter, Annabelle.
Mark was diagnosed with autism at age 2½, then came up with the concept for the book when he was 10, he said.
“I was inspired by Marvel’s Spider-Man, and the very first Spider-Man movie I saw was the one in 2002 starring Tobey Maguire,” he said. “That was my inspiration to write ‘Leoman.’”
Mark said he started writing the book several years ago, and it took him three years to write it, and now, he has fulfilled God’s purpose and his lifelong dream of becoming an author.
“The book was published Feb. 9, 2021, by Archway Books in Bloomington, a self-publishing company with Simon & Schuster,” he said. “Leoman is 16-year-old Leon Garrett, who is also high-functioning autistic and a Christian believer, so the book is actually a Christian superhero book.”
Mark said when the main character, Garrett, was just a toddler, there was a lab accident where his mother worked as a wildlife veterinarian biologist.
“This accident caused lion DNA to be absorbed into his body and kind of mutated his own DNA and gave him lion-like powers, like speed, strength, agility,” he said. “The powers are a combination of Beast and Wolverine from the X-Men movies.”
Now a teenager, Garrett is a photography intern working at the newspaper in Sedalia City, Indiana, when his best friend, Joe Vantrice, begins talking one day at lunch about an urban legend that Leon was purportedly secretly involved with while living in another town.
There is no question Joe believes in the Beast of Salemburg, who disappeared four years ago. But what he does not know is that Leon is not who he thinks he is.
Leon is really Leoman, a half human, half lion superhero. After his identity emerges during a violent confrontation, Leon confesses his secret to Joe. As he continues his investigations into crimes involving superhuman vigilantes while worrying if Joe will keep his monumental secret, now only time will tell if Leon can outwit the police, who are hot on his trail, and stay true to his mission.
“Leoman” is the tale of a teenage superhero who must rely on his lion-like abilities to rescue the innocent from criminals with dark intentions.
Murry created several original illustrations of the book characters, which he hand drew and colored. He keeps them in a binder, although there are no illustrations in the book. A few of the drawings include Leoman, Leon Garrett, Leon’s best friend, Joe Vantrice, Police Chief Blake Barrett, Dr. Amanda Garrett and some villains.
Dorothy said the book is for any age reader, but preteens and teenagers would especially like it.
“There are plot twists, a love interest and it’s really an interesting book and also very inspirational,” she said. “Mark was honored by Unity of Indiana because he wrote the book and is autistic himself, which could be inspirational to people with different abilities. I was born with cerebral palsy, so we are big advocates for people with different abilities.”
She said the reason the book was published in Bloomington is because they lived there for a while.
“That’s when COVID happened, and we realized we were missing home. Seymour and Brownstown are our home,” Dorothy said. “It’s funny because when we were about 18, we wanted out of our small towns, and now, we’re home again, and we just bought our first home in July.”
Several of the characters in “Leoman” are based on real-life people. Annie Jones, Leon Garrett’s love interest in the book, is based on Dorothy.
“Amanda Garrett, who is Leon’s mom, is based on my mother, Melinda Murry, who currently lives in New Albany but used to live in Seymour,” Mark said. “Police Chief Blake Barrett (Leon’s dad) is based on my dad, Mike Murry, who passed away from COVID two years ago.”
Mike wasn’t a policeman in real life, but he was another kind of hero.
“My dad served in the United States Air Force for 20 years during the Cold War, then the later half of the Vietnam War,” Mark said. “Then he was vice president of Austin Tri-Hawk Automotive for over 20 years, and then later in life, he went into business with my older brother, Matt Murry, chief executive officer of Touchdown Business Solutions recruiting company.”
Mark works at the recruiting company part time as an administrative assistant and also works part time at Penn Station sub shop in Columbus.
“Leoman” can be found on archwaypublishing.com, barnesandnoble.com and amazon.com. Reviews for the book can be helpful and would be appreciated, Mark said. He has already started working on his second book.